Extension of the reconstructed area in 2005
During the reconstruction done in the years before 1991 the scientific hypothesis was accepted that villae rusticae in our area had an open inner court as was the case in the Italian examples. For this reason an open inner court was planned into the partial reconstruction. It very soon became obvious that the climatic conditions in our area made this unlikely. Because the roofs inclined toward the center, the inner court flooded in a heavy rain and the cellar rooms were very damp.
This, added to the necessity of enlarging the museum, led to an extension of the reconstructed area in 2005. The planning now foresaw an enclosed hall instead of an open inner court. It turned out that the walls originally had been fortified at exactly the points where the greatest weight of the roof rested, proving that the new version was actually correct. This indicates that in Roman times the construction was suited to the climatic conditions.
The existing partial reconstruction has been enlarged by five new rooms. About one third of the central hall now has a roof. Due to the exceptionally large size of the house, the hall has a very high roof and is an imposing sight.
The newly gained space made it possible to reconstruct the Roman dining room (Triclinium) on its original site. In this room, for the first time, the Roman floor heating has been restored to working order.
The upper floor now houses an exhibition entitled 'Children in the Roman Empire', plus a bedroom and a pantry.
In addition, in the summer of 2008, the open colonnade (Porticus) was enlarged by 20 meters (approx. 60 feet). This presented the opportunity of replacing an arch that had been found during excavation in its original position.
Although only about one quarter of the house has been reconstructed it offers a remarkable impression of a wealthy person’s house in Roman times.
Following the continuing excavations on the grounds of the estate, several smaller buildings have additionally been reconstructed and many of the items found during the excavations have been conserved:
Continued on page 4: The inner rooms of the museum